The current and past Allegheny County district attorneys recently stated publicly that Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik and Cardinal Donald Wuerl have been careful and thorough in their efforts to stop the sexual abuse of minors.

Stephen Zappala, who has been district attorney since 1998, said he was confident that “then-Bishop Wuerl and Bishop Zubik have been forthright and diligent in notifying our office of any concerns about potential crimes, regardless of the time frame in which those crimes would have occurred.”

“That said, our office has been unable to proceed criminally on any of these referrals for a number of reasons, including issues with the statute of limitations and the alleged perpetrator being deceased,” Zappala said.

Similar comments were voiced by Robert Colville, who served as Allegheny County district attorney from 1976 to 1998. Then-Bishop Wuerl led the Diocese of Pittsburgh from 1988 until he was appointed as archbishop of Washington in 2006.

“Please, don’t blame Cardinal Wuerl. If anyone deserves the red badge of courage, he did,” Colville told KDKA-TV. “He came when nobody else was there.”

He noted that Cardinal Wuerl initiated church reforms for dealing with clergy abuse cases that were adopted on a national level.

“He changed the system,” Colville said. “He was the first person in the United States, Pittsburgh Diocese, to take on the idea that pedophiles can’t be cured to start with.”